Title: Kimi ni Todoke: From Me to You/Reaching You
Author: Shiina Karuho
Artist: Shiina Karuho
Genre: Drama, Romance, Comedy, Shoujo, School Life, Slice of Life
Summary: Sawako Kuronuma is the perfect heroine…for a horror movie. With her jet-black hair, sinister smile and silent demeanor, she’s often mistaken for the haunting movie character Sadako. But behind her scary facade is a very misunderstood teenager. Too shy to fit in, all she wants to do is make some friends. But when the most popular boy in class befriends her, she’s sure to make more than just that—she’s about to make some enemies too!
One word to describe Kimi ni Todoke is refreshing.
I started following Kimi ni Todoke a few months before it entered the spotlight; and now it has now spawned it’s own anime and j-drama adaptation. Having followed Sawako’s journey until the present has led me to feel somewhat at the borderline. However, that is another story and I will simply try to focus on Vol 1 where this manga tastes like a delicious cold drink on a hot-summer’s day.
Kimi ni Todoke more or less relies on the cliched events that occur in shoujo manga; there can only be that much that can happen in one’s school life. The key to the story lies in the way it is told/worked. Sawako is a very unconventional heroine; she’s quiet, hardworking, passive and doesn’t have a lot of (any) friends. She is, in fact, the perfect side-kick instead of heroine – her character is more likely to be saved by the main heroine in a story. Then we have Mr. Popular&Goodlookin’ – Kazehaya, who I am determine to call the perfect male side-character rather than the Hero.
Why? Mainly because nice guys are usually pushed aside by a more fiesty/thick/lion-heart/tsundere sort of character. That’s how I find Kimi ni Todoke refreshing; we have new types of characters playing the leads. Characterisation is the strongest aspect – Shiina Karuho uses less popular character types which draws us in because it is rare in mainstream manga.
I think what makes Kimi ni Todoke so popular is the fact that Sawako is learning life’s lessons and that it’s not all about the romance. It’s stirring further away from the shoujo trend we’ve been reading, where we find the protagonists falling in love through coincidental events purposely created to get the characters together rather than more ‘meaningful’ motives. Kimi ni Todoke takes us back to basics – making friends, dealing with losers, the simple things, and that’s what I love about it. Romance? Yes, that’s the focal point, but the fresh-ness lies in the mangaka’s wish to offer deeper motives than just doki-doki moments.
Sawako is portrayed quite beautifully whenever she’s in serious situation but she’s more often in chibi-form. It reminds me of The Wallflower where the heroine is also always in chibi-form – and they have the same hairstyle! Karuho-sensei really knows which scenes to put emphasis – scenes with Sawako and Kazehaya alone, it’s so innocent like a flower bud!
I like Kimi ni Todoke for deviating away from the popular shoujo comedy trend, creating very convincing characters and moments. Of course, Sawako’s The Ring thing isn’t exactly convincing at all but what the heck. Here I will conclude.
Overall rating & any comments: 4.0/5